Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Puncta Extraordinaria

Dots on Deuteronomy 29:28: A Polemical Response to Qumran’s Secret Laws

“The secret things belong unto YHWH our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever”—the verse has eleven dotted letters indicating erasure marks, but why? The answer lies in a controversial interpretation found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Prof.

Albert I. Baumgarten

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"Esau Hates Jacob": But Is Antisemitism a Halakha?

Esau kisses Jacob upon the latter’s return from Haran. Famously, in the Torah scroll, the word kiss is dotted, implying that his kiss may have been more (or less) than just a kiss. Nevertheless, perhaps in this case, “a kiss is but a kiss.”

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Lot and His Daughters' Motives for Their Incestuous Union

Genesis Rabbah surprisingly portrays Lot’s daughters and their choices in a decidedly positive light, while exacerbating Lot’s culpability.

Dr.

Shayna Sheinfeld

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Scribal Marks

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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Why Is Esau's Kiss Dotted?

Esau’s kiss to Jacob is written with scribal dots over the word וַׄיִּׄשָּׁׄקֵ֑ׄהׄוּׄ, “and he kissed him.” Traditional commentators suggest this hints to Esau’s feelings or state of mind. Critical scholarship, however, points to something much more prosaic, a question of syntax.

Prof.

Albert I. Baumgarten

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Key Characteristics of (Proto-) MT

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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